Categorized | National News

Hotel Union Could Dissolve

There could be devastating consequences for members of The Bahamas Hotel Catering and Allied Workers Union (BHCAWU) if the Court of Appeal rules that the union is not a legally registered body, an executive council member of the union told The Bahama Journal yesterday.

The BHCAWU is awaiting a decision from the court that will determine its legitimacy after CMK Holdings, the owners of the Coral Sands Resorts on Harbour Island, filed a lawsuit.

CMK claims the union which was known as The Bahamas Hotel Catering Union until 1970, has never registered its current name, therefore, making it an illegitimate organisation.

Darren Wood, secretary general of The BHCAWU, confirmed to the Journal that the union’s current name has never been registered, however, he said since it had been that way since 1970, there was never any concern that the union’s legitimacy would be compromised.

He added that the union is currently looking at how the situation could be rectified but he refused to say more until the union’s monthly general meeting where its members would be informed of this situation.

“This could be devastating for the union and so we want to talk to our members and hear what they have to say,” he said.

The union and management of the Coral Sands Resort have had a number of public disputes with The BHCAWU often accusing the resort of intimidation and union busting tactics, leading one union member to suggest that this lawsuit may be pay back on the part of CMK Holdings.

A source affiliated with the union said this lawsuit is another sign of the executive council’s incompetence and it demonstrates that the council is not fit to lead.

Referring to reports of two additional lawsuits being filed against the union by The Bahamas Hotel Employers Association – one over the current industrial agreement and the other suit alleging that the union has failed to pay nearly $2 million in contributions into a pension fund for its members employed at Workers House, the source said, there is something deeply concerning about the management of the organisation.

“They allowed the industrial agreement to expire without giving notice that they wanted to revise the agreement,” he said. “They violated the terms of the agreement by failing to give advance notice. What exactly are they doing?

“And then now we are learning that they haven’t paid some $1.8 million of contributions into the employees’ pension fund. This is all very sad for our members.”

It is unclear exactly what would happen to the union and its assets if the court rules it is not legitimately registered, but yesterday Labour Minister Shane Gibson said the matter has been brought to his attention and though he could not provide specific details about the situation, he expressed hope that the matter would be resolved swiftly.

Some speculate that an illegitimate ruling by the court could lead to the union being dissolved and its current executive team and constitution expelled.

There has also been concern raised about the money paid by its members in weekly dues and the pensions of those members.

The union currently has nearly 6,000 members.

Written by Jones Bahamas

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